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Volume 83 - 2020 - Fasc.2 - Expert opinion

Liver transplantation during the COVID-19 epidemic : recommendations from the Belgian Liver Intestine Transplant Committee (BeLIAC)

Since January 2020, the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has dramatically impacted the world. In March 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic reached Belgium creating uncertainty towards all aspects of life. There has been an impressive capacity and solidarity of all healthcare professionals to acutely reconvert facilities to treat these patients. In the context of liver transplantation (LTx), concerns are raised about organ donation shortage and safety, the ethics of using limited healthcare resources for LTx, selection criteria for LTx during the epidemic and the risk of de novo COVID-19 infection on the waiting list and after LTx. BeLIAC makes several recommendations to try to mitigate the deleterious effect that this epidemic has/will have on donation and LTx, taking into account the available resources, and trying to maximize patients and healthcare professionals’ safety. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2020, 83, 340-343).

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BSGIE survey on COVID-19 and gastrointestinal endoscopy in Belgium : results and recommendations

Background and Aims : With the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic declining, activities in the gastrointestinal clinic are being recommenced after a period of stringent measures. Since a second COVID-19 wave is not entirely ruled out health care professionals might remain faced with the need to perform endoscopic procedures in patients with a confirmed positive or unknown COVID-19 status. With this report we aim to provide a practical relevant overview of preparation and protective measures for gastroenterologists based on the currently available guidelines and our local experience and results of a national Belgian survey, to guarantee a fast recall of an adequate infection prevention if COVID-19 reoccurs. Methods : From the 23rd of March 2020 and the 13th of May 2020 we performed a Pubmed, Embase and Medline search, resulting in 37 papers on COVID-19 and endoscopy. Additionally, we combined these data with data acquired from the national BSGIE survey amongst Belgian gastroenterologists. Results : Based on 72 completed surveys in both university and non-university hospitals, the results show (1) a dramatic (<20%) or substantial (<50%) decrease of normal daily endoscopy in 74% and 22% of the units respectively, (2) a difference in screening and protective measures between university and non-university hospitals. These findings were subsequently compared with the current guidelines. Conclusion : Based on new data from the BSGIE survey and current guidelines we tried to realistically represent the current COVID-19 trends in protective measures, screening and indications for endoscopy and to provide a practical overview as preparation for a possible second wave. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2020, 83, 344- 354).

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